tv Lectures in History CSPAN August 12, 2014 6:46pm-7:37pm EDT
and put on trial. and two were convicted and sentenced to death but they were later pardoned by washington. so, the whiskey rebellion, what's the significance and what is the importance of this rebellion? well, it set severe limits or at least the response of the federal government. it set severe limits on public opposition to federal policies. in the early 1790s, many americans still assumed it was legitimate to protest unpopular laws using the same tactics which they blocked the parliamentary measures like the stamp act in 1765. by firmly suppressing this challenge to national authority, washington served notice that citizens who resorted to violent or other extralegal means of political action would feel the full force of the federal authority. what we see is a change. right? that may have worked in the 1760s. but the same sort of actions that they had acted upon in the
1760s would no longer be allowed in the united states. what we see is a change. now i would like to talk a bit about the trans-oconee republic and the trans-oconee republic is something dear to my heart. this is something i ran across when i was writing my book on georgia. it was this episode i had never heard of. it involved a revolutionary hero. much like we heard with mcfarland who decided he had enough of his country and was going to start his own country shortly after the nation had just begun and this startled me. this left me scratching my head. i had to dig deeper. what i uncovered was this amazing story. like the whiskey rebellion, the disagreement that led to the creation of the trans-oconee republic in 1794, the disagreement predated its actual emergence. it wasn't suddenly in 1794 the
men decided that's enough and we're going to do something about it. instead, the origins of this disagreement between the federal government and these men from western georgia -- what's interesting here. i want you to see the map now. so, what do we see with georgia in terms of their support or lack of support? >> very unorganized. >> very -- >> unorganized. >> this here is indian land. this is native american land. i'll show a map. we think of this all being georgia. look what georgia claims. georgia claims all the way to the mississippi. they clearly can't do that. what they'll end up with is about this much. but in 1790, this was the extent of georgia. i have more maps to actually show this. but what do we see with the blue? what does the blue signify? >> huge support for the federalists. in fact, what we know is that georgiaens very much supported -- they very much supported the constitution. they very much supported the constitution.
yet they found that their support eventually proved to be misplaced in the eyes of many of the georgians. so as i said, in 1787, 1788, the georgians are very much in favor of the constitution. they ratify it very quickly once it arrived and send it back and they to so for a variety of reasons. one key reason is that they have native americans that are surrounding them. they're also the weakest link. they're at the very bottom of the nation. they're vulnerable to attacks from spanish florida or attacks from the water and they also have large numbers of slaves. they're very, very vulnerable in georgia.lõe1 georgia was one of the last states actually to participate in the continental congress. they weren't sure if they were going to join the party, but once they had joined, they were the first ones, one of the first states to say we want in when it came to the constitution. and it had to do with protection or the need for security.
so, they were quite surprised when they found that in 1790 president washington signed a treaty with the creek indians, the same creek indians with si treaty with the creek indians, the same greek indians the western georgians were fighting in deck katdz. in 1790, president washington reached a treaty with the cree indians, he had been baccarat philadelphia by the constitution, with these powers, he negotiated this piece treat which with chiefs that represented some of the cree indians. this treaty would be contested later on. it was viewed legitimate by the president around his administration. now the cree indians were the most powerful indian tribes of the southeast with a group of over 10,000 warriors, for decade
the creek played the europeans off one another and the greek held the balance of power in the region up to the revolutionary war. president walk under stood that the united states having just not a war of independence was in no shape to take them on. to president washington, and members of his administration meant the treaty with the greek this treaty of 1790 represented a major achievement. it freed the united states up and continued conflict in the southeast. so that the nation's army could, instead, focus its energys on subdueing the indian tribes of the ohio river, north of the ohio river in an effort to expand the nation's board further west. now, this treaty that was negotiated in 1790, the treaty of new york, it was celebrated by many, many americans. most americans thought this was a very good idea. but there were some who didn't
and many of those who did not agree with it were georgians, particularly those men who lived in this area in the appalachians. now, you remember we talked about the proclamation of 1763, which had drawn that line down the appalachian mountains and mandated settleers could not move to the western side of the appalachians, while some folks were most in favor of creating a new nation to push west of the appalachians were, indeed, these same farmers from georgia. now r now, in exchange for peace, president walk had given up claims to land that were included in georgia's charter. so when he signed the treaty of 1790, what he did was give away this land that georgians believe that was actually theirs, even though they didn't control any of it. they felt it was theirs. in many ways, the georgians felt
the trade by the actions. indeed, some qualified into question his right to make the agreement in the first place, in the 17 '80s, prior to the baccaratification of the constitution, georgia's state government had completed several treaties with the creek and cherokee indians in the 17 '80s in which they made all sorts of land sexes. many of these treatys were done under fraudulent terms and conditions. the georgians said, look, we've negotiated for this land. but what happened with the baccaratification of the congress is that the federal government took over the power to negotiate with indians. so those treaties that had been made between georgia and the creek and georgia and the cherokee were nullified. they meant nothing. so the georgians found that this federal government now, not only was it siding with the indians in their mind, it was also nullifying land sessions that they had received, which, of course, made them angry. they were incensed that the president invalidated these
agreements and restricted their settlement to the earlier boundaries east of the irokoni river. now, this is a picture of what georgia looked like in 1790 and all this land that we usually think of being georgia was actually in the hand of the native americans and what we see is that there was a line and this line that you see represented the bordered and what the rebels want to do is cross over the border. it's actually a river. they wanted to cross over this river and take possession of land that was that general washington insured would remain in the hand of the treaty of 1790. now the georgians intended to use this land that is presently labelled indian land. they intended to use this land to honor their commitment and provide more bountys to soldiers who served during the war but without access to the land, the
state was actually able to fulfill the obligation. and what made it more is their state as i said had been one of the first to ratify the constitution, they supported it specifically because they thought it would benefit themselves. now, instead of benefiting themself, they found that their participation with the constitution was coming back to haunt them. >> that instead of protecting them against the indians, the constitution is enabling the federal government to prevent them from moving on to indian land. so it seemed to be they had made a bad bargain and they were quite alarmed at what had taken place. of all the georgian, it was the residents of the back country who were most upset at the treaty of new york and the federal government's actions. they lashed out at the decision and even began to question whether they want to remain sids of the nation that they felt had abandoned them in near time of need. thousands of settlers chose to ignore the terms of the treaty and poured across the boundary
across the river onto the creek indian's land. this decision prompted creek warriors to attack, to resist these incursions and the result was frequent bloodshed and violence as the two groups launched raid after raid after counterraid. as growing numbers of wn+bsettl suffered at the hands of the creek warriors, the settleers looked to the federal government for protection, but 91 was forthcoming. in fact the secretary of war at the time, a man named henry knox, what he believed, he viewed the settleers, in fact the white settleers as the biggest impediment to peace. they didn't do the indians as a problem. instead, it was those settleerssh pushing the boundaries, they were the ones to worry about. as a result the settleers in georgia grew disillusioned with president washington and the federal authorities. now, in georgia the leader of this movement, this resistance, the leader of this resistance was a man elijah clark.
eleej ja clark was a fascinating man. he was a revolutionary war vet rant. he had been a hero during the american war of independence and after he had returned home, he had continued to engage in the defense of his beloved georgia. he became a militia leader. he was a brigadier general in the militia. he called for troops and he expected some support from the federal government. he, like others, grew disil disillusioned with what was taking place. he gave up. instead, what he did was join the french government. he became part of the french army. he resigned for a commission in the french army. now, there was a french official traveling through the back country of south carolina and georgia, trying to drum up support among these alienated back country settleers who were so angry at washington and the federal government. they tried to drum up support to
get them to go travel back down from georgia, what they wanted to do is travel back down from georgia. they were going to travel from georgia to, let's go back one more. they were going to travel along the line of georgia and they were going to go to florida where they were going to launch an expedition to take over florida with the support of the french. this is like a pie in the sky kind of raid. but this is enough for general elijah clark, who was this loader, this hero with the revolutionary war. he was a hero in the after math as they not against the indians. here he was willing to leave the state and leave his country to take a chance on invading france in the summer of 1794. the spring of 1794. he along with french support was going to invade, excuse me, florida and take over spanish
florida. but when he and all the men he had managed omobilize, they made their way down, they worked their way through to get to florida. but when they got there, they realized the french were no longer participating. changes had taken place the french were no longer going to support this enterprise, he had hundreds of men there waiting to engage in this attack. they were mad as heck. they decided to travel back to where they came from, wait for the rep in the northern counties. but they stayed on the indian side of the river. they stayed on the western side of the arconi, not coming into the american side. when they got up far enough across from where many of them lived in green county and walk county, what they did is set up shop. they began to build for theification fort identifications
fortiveindications. they built up for theific shuns. a lot of back country residents were quite pleased with what he was doing, even if they did not joan him. but ultimately his venture failed. now, as he set to work, clark was the leader and he began building as i said this transiconi republic. they began a constitution. it created a committee of safety and it started planning elections we laughed at this, what are you think something this fledgling colony, what are you going to do? we have to remember at this time america was this radical experiment. it was unclear america was going to survive if the united states was going to make it. this was another fledge ling experiment. so for people leak elijah clark or mcfarland the whiskey rebel.
what they thought, this is legit massachusetts i've had enough problems with this government that i thought to create. i am, therefore, going to leave and create something elsewhere where i can create those same revolutionary impulses that seem to have been diluted by the conservative backlash that followed after the revolution. now, in 1794, in may of 1794 is when it began and it lasted until september of 1794. over the course of this period of time, what we see is that president washington found out about what was taking place and immediately tried to deal with it. he sent orders to the governor in georgia, but the governor didn't act right away. he wasn't sure he had the power to actually do it. because there was so much support for these back country rebels. instead he waited and he wait and eventually he had to act because washington pushed him so hard. eventually, he sent troops into the back country. these are militiamen from the
state and the soldiers managed to convince the men who had joined the transiconi republic to give up and to come back across the river and go home. none of the men were ever charged or convicted excuse me of any sort of crime they came back over and pretended it didn't happen. the militiamen burnt the for theifications. they proceeded as if nothing had ever happened. they were a part of the efforts by americans to secure their own visions of an american revolution which they believe had been undermined by the federal government, in addition to conflicts over the federal authority, americans sharply
divided over diplomacy. one thing to emerge was over the french revolution, the french revolution broke out in 1789 and americans for the post-part were thrilled. it proved, it vindicated their notion that they had created something superior, a new political system that was superior to anything else in the world and that could point to france where it seemed to take root and spread. so they felt very good about themselves, most americans, there was a consensus on it. in the early 1790s what happened in france is that the revolution became far more violent and politically radical. now what accompanied this was the executions of thousands of aristocrats and other opponents of the french revolution. and this includes the king, king louis, xvi and his wife marya mary antoinet. they killed significant numbers of just folks opposed to it and
the king and queen. what we see is reactions from the united states splinter. for some folks, especially the federalists, these men a part of the administration, washington's administration, men like alexander hamilton, they were horrified with what they saw in france. it proved that you couldn't just let people take hold of the political system. they had to be monitored. the republic the federalists argued needed to be in charge. the pest pen needed to be in charge of the republic. so they saw this as democracy run amuck. but on the other hand, you had a vo+ñ other group of people. many of these folks were not federalists. many were opponents, federalists. they were also in favor of the french revolution and they became more radical. they didn't focus on the violence per se on this negative aspect. instead, they saw the political possibilities. they saw this radical political
process unfolding in which people who previously had no control were having a much greater say in the political process. that's what they focused in on. they thought about their own american revolution and the extent to write it had been compromised in their mind. we think of the men, thomas payne and others who played for a radical overhaul of the political process and system, yet id seems like in many ways it had returned to the status quo before the war. so they looked at the war and very different, the revolution, excuse me, in a very different way. many of these folks were farmers, small farmers and artisans who lived in cities. so a very different group. these folks tended to hang out and meet in democratic republican societies, democratic republican societies. these are groups that emerged over the course of the french revolution, largely as a result of the controversy. what we see is that these groups would continue to grow. now, initially, americans had
believed there was no place for politics, no place for parties in american politics. they didn't believe in factions. they believed it would corrupt the system. in fact the constitution framers believed it would corrupt the system. they didn't plan for it. by the 1790s, what emerged were ideological differences over what the revolution meant and the future of the revolution and these ideological divisions deepened into the creation of the party system. the first party system, which emerges at this time. on the one hand, you have the federalists who were backed by george washington, but then you have the emergence of another group, the republican party. not the republican party of today, but the republican party that was backed in large part by thomas jefferson, who called for a very different vision of what society should be like. one that took into consideration the work of the small men, whether it was yaomen, agriculturalists or artisans, what you see emerging in the
1790s are distinct revolution. this political unrest which began before the revolution continued during the revolution and would continue to manifest itself in the 191790s and after war. what is essential to remember, however, that this unrest, these divisions were a part of the process from the get-go. all right. folks, good luck on your exams. and i will see you next monday. coming up a look at alcohol use in america. american history looks at jewish history beginning with holocaust survivors. and a world war ii regs denied entrance into the u.s. crimer.